Olafur Eliasson is trying to illuminate the remote, bringing light and opportunity to those who cannot access or bear the expense of electricity or kerosene. Eliasson, an Icelandic-Danish artist, has created a small solar-powered light, called Little Sun, “to promote economic growth in regions of the world where electricity is not available, reliable, affordable or sustainable.”
Little Sun gives about five hours of luminescence after taking in five hours of sunlight. The battery lasts three years and is replaceable. It can be used as a table lamp, wall mount, pendant, flashlight, or bicycle headlight.
Berlin-based Eliasson and engineer partner Frederik Ottesen say the Little Sun solar light allows users to read, write, and study later; work more safely; keep stores open after dark; live in homes unpolluted by kerosene fumes; and reduce household energy expenditures.
Beginning July 28, Tate Modern will turn off its museum lights and “invite visitors to look at works of art in the dark using only the light of Eliasson’s Little Sun solar-powered lamps.” The Little Suns will be lighting Tate Modern’s Surrealist collection every Saturday night for two hours until September 9.
In areas off the grid, Little Suns will be sold for about $10; elsewhere, the solar lamps will be about £16.50. Eliasson wants off-grid small businesses to sell Little Suns to create economic activity. The lamps will “initially be sold in Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe at both a worthwhile profit for local retailers and an affordable sum for consumers.”
Eliasson pledges that revenue generated by the solar lights will be put back into the venture to sustain the goal of sustainable light.
Image: Oalfur Eliasson via Little Sun
Chelsea is a former newspaper reporter who has spent the past few years teaching English in Poland, Finland and Japan. When she wasn't teaching or writing, Chelsea was traveling Europe and Asia, sampling spicy street food along the way.